When black comedy becomes true

Been watching Sidney Lumet, as you would, last night it was Network and it begged the question, what happens when outrageous black comedy becomes true? The answer is that it doesn’t work any more. More than any movie I’ve ever seen this fails for sheer obsolescence. However brilliant it is that it did show us ahead of time exactly what television would become, the fact is, that stops it being funny.

I’ve been mulling this over too….

The script is completely groan-inducing stilted, the cardboard characters’ acting to match. I don’t just mean the obvious sendups, the Angela Davis character, The Mse-Tung Show etc; I mean the done-with-feeling parts too. I’ve been looking around the web to see if this is talked about anywhere, but it isn’t. Is this supposed to be the viewer’s reaction? I’m lost here. I’m not saying the acting isn’t great, I dare say it is. But isn’t it great because it is sending up the medium too? Eg the scene where Max leaves his wife…isn’t that supposed to be a two dimensional, trite piece of dialogue as it would be in a scene from a TV show that….

Anybody out there agree with me??? Or can explain to me why I am wrong, please.


2 thoughts on “When black comedy becomes true

  1. I could make the same point about 12 Angry Men – the acting is terrible, but the idea is good. Same as Network, just that the idea from Network is no longer interesting. No-one mentioned this in the obituaries, but as a genre they do tend to be fawning .

    He did an awful lot of theatre related work early in his career, so maybe he tended to lean heavily on the scripts and allow his actors more “staginess”. I think it’s an interesting point, worth hearing what a more knowledgeable cineaste than me has to say.


    • Ah, so you do think the acting is terrible. I couldn’t tell whether it was what it was supposed to be….a bit like reading Iris Murdoch. I read The Sea The Sea, complained of how badly it was written and was told that this is the character, not the author.

      And interesting to know about the theatre side of things since the person I watched it with thought it very stagey….I thought maybe this was so that it could be identified as being the characters being a script, ie in accordance with the idea of the film that real life is now like TV….


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